SynopsisRINGSIDE looks at the dangerous, volatile world of Chicago’s South Side from the perspective of two remarkably gifted young boxers and the fathers who train them; as one begins a rising career in the ring, the other serves time in prison.
KENNETH SIMS SR. and DESTYNE BUTLER SR. have sacrificed everything in the interest of achieving the same goal: making their sons, KENNY JR. and DESTYNE Jr. boxing champions and thus breaking the vicious circle of poverty and violence their families have struggled against for generations.
It’s a fight against overwhelming odds – many try but few succeed – and there are a host of disappointments along the way. Kenny Jr. is crushed by his failed Olympic bid but with the help of Kenny Sr., he redoubles his efforts and starts winning amateur bouts which draws the attention of a well-known boxing promoter. The boxing career of Destyne Jr. gets put on hold when he’s convicted of burglary, which his father, Destyne Sr., addresses by campaigning to get his son into a prison-diversion Boot Camp program for first time offenders. This allows Destyne Jr. to get out of prison in months rather than years, but only if he can withstand the rigors of the program, after which he could then restart his boxing career.
RINGSIDE is told from the point of view of these two hopeful boxers and their fathers as they strive for success in and out of the ring. The film follows them over the course of eight years as they meet with success and failure, overcome hurdles and reach for ever more promising futures.